14

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The future of multilateralism: Crisis or opportunity?

10-05-2017

Multilateralism lies at the core of the EU’s identity and of its engagement with the world. Both the 2003 European Security Strategy and the 2016 Global Strategy emphasised the importance of a rules-based global order with multilateralism as its key principle and the United Nations (UN) at its core, and made its promotion part of the EU’s strategic goals. Yet, in spite of widespread acknowledgement of the achievements of the multilateral international order established after the Second World War, ...

Multilateralism lies at the core of the EU’s identity and of its engagement with the world. Both the 2003 European Security Strategy and the 2016 Global Strategy emphasised the importance of a rules-based global order with multilateralism as its key principle and the United Nations (UN) at its core, and made its promotion part of the EU’s strategic goals. Yet, in spite of widespread acknowledgement of the achievements of the multilateral international order established after the Second World War, and in particular of the attainment of long-lasting peace, multilateral institutions and the liberal international order in which they are embedded have recently been the subject of severe criticism. The rise of populist nationalism has been interpreted, among other things, as a crisis in support for the multilateral order. Some of the causes of this crisis are related to the emergence of new actors in the global scene, the expansive nature of multilateral institutions, the widening gap between publics and international institutions and the decline of American power. The election of Donald Trump, who had repeatedly questioned the value of multilateral organisations such as the UN, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), has led to even greater preoccupation about the future of global governance. In this scenario, several scholars suggest that the EU and the G20 should be proactive in safeguarding multilateralism, while acknowledging and promoting the necessary reforms to the architecture of global governance.

The World Bank: Serving ambitious goals, but in need of reform

21-04-2016

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, nowadays known as the World Bank, was conceived to help rebuild European countries devastated by the Second World War. Since then, through various reforms, its mission has evolved and its scope and staff increased significantly. Nowadays, the World Bank Group consists of five institutions (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA and ICSID), each with a particular mode of organisation and a specific scope and mission. The institution and its role have evolved ...

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, nowadays known as the World Bank, was conceived to help rebuild European countries devastated by the Second World War. Since then, through various reforms, its mission has evolved and its scope and staff increased significantly. Nowadays, the World Bank Group consists of five institutions (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA and ICSID), each with a particular mode of organisation and a specific scope and mission. The institution and its role have evolved significantly since its inception in 1944, most recently with its 2013 strategy, although the main reasons behind its existence remain. The five institutions that form the World Bank Group have slightly different memberships, along with boards of governors and boards of directors. Commentators have presented arguments in favour of the Bank, as well as many criticisms and concerns with regard to its work. In particular, criticisms concerns issues such as smaller countries being inadequately represented, and some of the Bank's models being too conservative and in need of updating to take into consideration the evolution of today's world economy. Furthermore, critics say the Bank should engage meaningfully with the international human rights framework and assist its member countries in complying with their own human-rights obligations; and despite positive results from some of the Bank's programmes, these have also had negative spill-overs in the countries concerned.

The Role of the World Bank in International Trade Policy

28-01-2016

The EU's trade policy does not exist in a vacuum. On the one hand, it is affected by international standard and rule-setting. On the other hand, the EU is itself an influential actor shaping the international trade agenda by participating in the work of international organisations and fora. This short note focuses on the World Bank.

The EU's trade policy does not exist in a vacuum. On the one hand, it is affected by international standard and rule-setting. On the other hand, the EU is itself an influential actor shaping the international trade agenda by participating in the work of international organisations and fora. This short note focuses on the World Bank.

The Implications of International Economic and Financial Governance Agenda for EU Trade and Investment Policy

09-12-2015

Many of the rules, norms, principles and practices that are central to EU trade and investment policy today have been influenced by a wide range of different types of international organisations (IOs). This influence occurs through formal rulemaking, voluntary codes of conduct or standards, the provision of technical and scientific expertise or the dissemination of research and best practice. The influence is pervasive and decisions taken years ago in IOs can shape EU trade policy today. With the ...

Many of the rules, norms, principles and practices that are central to EU trade and investment policy today have been influenced by a wide range of different types of international organisations (IOs). This influence occurs through formal rulemaking, voluntary codes of conduct or standards, the provision of technical and scientific expertise or the dissemination of research and best practice. The influence is pervasive and decisions taken years ago in IOs can shape EU trade policy today. With the difficulties facing multilateral approaches to rulemaking in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) the impact of other IOs has increased.

South Korea as a global actor: The emergence of a middle-ranking power?

18-09-2015

Although relatively recent, South Korea's engagement in the activities of the main international political and economic governance institutions has helped to forge and enhance the country's profile as a more influential player in global affairs.

Although relatively recent, South Korea's engagement in the activities of the main international political and economic governance institutions has helped to forge and enhance the country's profile as a more influential player in global affairs.

Diverging views on the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in the US and Europe

22-04-2015

Infrastructure investments are an important element in international economic cooperation. Besides bilateral agreements, European donor countries often use the institutional platform given by the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to negotiate the terms of financial assistance with recipient countries. However, the dominance of these Western development and investment institutions is challenged by China, which has launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). While the ...

Infrastructure investments are an important element in international economic cooperation. Besides bilateral agreements, European donor countries often use the institutional platform given by the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to negotiate the terms of financial assistance with recipient countries. However, the dominance of these Western development and investment institutions is challenged by China, which has launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). While the US has taken a critical stance on this Chinese influenced infrastructure bank, some EU Member States have announced that they will support the AIIB.

The BRICS Bank and Reserve Arrangement: towards a new global financial framework?

04-12-2014

At this summer's summit held in Fortaleza, Brazil, the five countries which form the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – agreed on the establishment of their own financial institutions: the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). The New Development Bank is to lend for infrastructure and sustainable-development purposes, both in BRICS countries and other developing and emerging economies. In this context, developing countries are looking for a ...

At this summer's summit held in Fortaleza, Brazil, the five countries which form the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – agreed on the establishment of their own financial institutions: the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). The New Development Bank is to lend for infrastructure and sustainable-development purposes, both in BRICS countries and other developing and emerging economies. In this context, developing countries are looking for a new source of financing with more flexible conditions. The CRA is an agreement among the BRICS' central banks for mutual support during a sudden currency crisis. The agreements were signed on 15 July 2014 – after two years of negotiations – but still need to be ratified by the members' legislatures.

The World Bank Considers Feasible the Building of the Tajik Rogun Dam

22-07-2014

Water issues in Central Asia, which have proven contentious since the breakup of the Soviet Union, have attracted international attention with the World Bank's recent impact assessment condoning Tajikistan's plan to build an enormous dam. The Rogun Dam, under construction for decades, is strongly contested by downstream Uzbekistan. Tensions between energy-deprived Tajikistan and water-starved Uzbekistan – exacerbated by the region's endemically unsustainable resource management and growing competition ...

Water issues in Central Asia, which have proven contentious since the breakup of the Soviet Union, have attracted international attention with the World Bank's recent impact assessment condoning Tajikistan's plan to build an enormous dam. The Rogun Dam, under construction for decades, is strongly contested by downstream Uzbekistan. Tensions between energy-deprived Tajikistan and water-starved Uzbekistan – exacerbated by the region's endemically unsustainable resource management and growing competition – have prevented the countries from pooling their complementary resources. Downstream Uzbekistan has applied political and economic pressure to its poorer upstream neighbour to ensure the huge Uzbek cotton fields continue to be watered. For its part, Tajikistan hopes to export electricity to Afghanistan with the hydropower project, which has suffered from a lack of funding as well as political wrangling. The dam, located in an earthquake-prone region, would be the tallest in the world – and the most cost-effective way to boost Tajikistan's economy and energy efficiency. According to the World Bank, whose reports included technological and environmental considerations, the construction and operation of the dam are feasible, and the proper application of international standards would reduce the risk of failure. The Bank also recommends that downstream countries have an equity participation in the project.

External Representation of the Euro Area

15-05-2012

This study outlines concrete options for improving the external representation of the euro area in international institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the G-20. The study proposes a two-stage process, the first of which requires the creation of a permanent subcommittee of the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) to elaborate common positions at international level. A second step, taken in the longer term, would consist of creating a single-member position in the IMF and World Bank by merging ...

This study outlines concrete options for improving the external representation of the euro area in international institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the G-20. The study proposes a two-stage process, the first of which requires the creation of a permanent subcommittee of the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) to elaborate common positions at international level. A second step, taken in the longer term, would consist of creating a single-member position in the IMF and World Bank by merging national quotas via the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). For the G-20, a single membership of the euro area could create inconsistencies with the European Union membership. However, a euro area membership could be envisaged if a more economically and financially integrated euro area were to develop.

Ekstern forfatter

Alessandro GIOVANNINI, CEPS; Daniel GROS, CEPS; Paul IVAN, CEPS; Piotr Maciej KACZYŃSKI, CEPS; Diego VALIANTE, CEPS

The International Response to the Global Crisis and the Reform of the International Financial and Aid Architecture

21-09-2009

The financial crisis which began in 2008 has taken its toll on the “real economy”, causing a record drop in trade and sharp rises in unemployment across the world. The effects on all countries are dramatic and the impact is particularly harsh on developing countries who cannot afford the fiscal stimulus packages being deployed in Europe and North America. To this end, the leaders of the G-20 agreed on a series of measures to help the poorest countries of the world. The study by Professor Woods analyses ...

The financial crisis which began in 2008 has taken its toll on the “real economy”, causing a record drop in trade and sharp rises in unemployment across the world. The effects on all countries are dramatic and the impact is particularly harsh on developing countries who cannot afford the fiscal stimulus packages being deployed in Europe and North America. To this end, the leaders of the G-20 agreed on a series of measures to help the poorest countries of the world. The study by Professor Woods analyses the measures taken so far by the international community to address the impact of the economic crisis in developing countries, as well as the appropriateness of the IFIs (IMF, World Bank, and others) to implement such measures. The G20 expressed a clear aspiration to ensure that the poorest of the world are not the most severely affected by the crisis in the short-term as well as in terms of impacts on their long-term development. To foreshadow the conclusion, the analysis in this paper highlights that there are some urgent actions which need taking if this aspiration is to be met and that the EU is well-placed to lead on this.

Ekstern forfatter

Ngaire WOODS (University of Oxford, UK)

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